DANCEHALL is BIG. But the hidden truth is that, REGGAE is BIGGER. Reggae is far bigger than Dancehall in terms of intrinsic message and ratings, GLOBALLY. Dancehall is ONLY LOUD with youthfully exuberant lyrics, but REGGAE rates higher.
Reggae is the grandmother of dancehall just as Highlife is the grandmother of Hiplife.
It is necessary that every Ghana Reggae/Dancehall artiste knows this fact. Reggae artistes play MORE PAYABLE SHOWS than Dancehall artistes. As a Dancehall artiste, in my personal opinion, it would be nice if you consider doing or infusing the Reggae aspect of it.
If you doubt my words, ask Busy Signal why he had to focus more on Reggae than Dancehall. REGGAE is the REAL MARKET. Dancehall is just a SHOW OFF style of music. The biggest shows across USA, Europe, Asia are played by Reggae artistes, not Dancehall artistes. Dancehall artistes only get to play SINGULAR GIGS AT A TIME. But the Reggae artistes play LINED UP CONCERTS that truly pay and grow their musical CVs.
Many Ghana artistes don’t know this so I have to blow the vuvuzela again so we direct our industry in the right path to fit us here in Africa. I am NOT condemning Dancehall though.
It is just nice and ADDS MORE VALUE to any strictly Dancehall act to create some part of their act for Reggae music as well. Big up every Reggae n Dancehall artiste in Ghana. Reggae music (Roots Reggae & Lovers’ Rock) represents a more marketable brand and Reggae represents generational music than Dancehall.
Because most of us are enthralled with the ‘extraordinary twists and turns’ of Dancehall, many people feel sweet in their head and think Dancehall is bigger than Reggae meanwhile in reality, Reggae sells more than Dancehall. How many Dancehall artistes globally have been able to break into mainstream American market apart from Shabba Ranks, Shaggy, Beenie Man?
Even the highly talked about Vybz Kartel is not big in America or Europe in terms of ROYALTIES and STAGES. Vybz Kartel is a good brand and a real dope act in terms of Dancehall but I am sure if he would be true to himself he would admit that he earns far too less in Dancehall music he has recorded over the years.
Dancehall has a limited market – more pointing to the fact that many people think it is a “violent music” also is a factor that affects its market. More seriously, Dancehall music was NOT started on violence.
The likes of Josey Wales, Barrington Levy, Yellow Man, Buju Banton, Burro Banton, Capleton who are known are the genesis or early pioneers of Dancehall music did not employ violent lyrics until the likes of Ninja Man, Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel and many others began introducing “gun lyrics” into Dancehall where the genre swayed into what the world has come to describe as “Dancehall is violent.” The messages in Reggae music are clearer and the music fights for causes. The greatest reggae performers consider themselves as messengers carrying a divine message.
Practically, at the biggest concerts in Europe, the organizers want to give fans something different because there are lots of people who don’t like the current mainstream music in every country. Some of those people are wealthy and they like reggae.
There are professors and big bankers who have no idea who these ‘loud’ Dancehall artistes are but they rather patronize strictly Reggae shows. We are beginning to have “same disease” here in Ghana where many upcoming acts think Dancehall is bigger than Reggae (all owing to the fact that Dancehall in Ghana is bigger than Reggae) but they forget that Reggae ON THE GLOBAL STAGE has MORE WEIGHT than Dancehall.
I have decided to voice my mind on this topic and advise my people doing mainstream Dancehall before it gets out of hand – especially the upcoming acts who fancy Dancehall.
By: Elorm Beenie